Turkey warns of action in Syria unless US halts aid to Kurds

Turkey warns of action in Syria unless US halts aid to Kurds
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Turkey warned the U.S. that it would take action in Syria's Afrin district if the U.S. continued to aid Kurdish fighters in the area.

“We emphasized that such a step was very wrong,” Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ said, according to Reuters.

“Turkey has reached the limits of its patience. Nobody should expect Turkey to show more patience," he continued. 


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also warned against U.S. assistance to Kurds. 

The warning comes after the U.S. announced it would aid the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are led by the Kurdish YPG militia in the area. 

The U.S. said it would assist in setting up a 30,000-strong border force. 

Turkey considers the Kurdish YPG to be a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has clashed with Turkey since the 1980s. 

Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHillicon Valley — Blinken unveils new cyber bureau at State Blinken formally announces new State Department cyber bureau Hillicon Valley — TikTok, Snapchat seek to distance themselves from Facebook MORE pushed back on Turkey's warning, saying action in the area had been misinterpreted and the U.S. is only looking ”to ensure that local elements are providing security to liberated areas.”

“Some people misspoke. We are not creating a border security force at all,” Tillerson said. 

The Pentagon also aimed in a statement to downplay Turkey's concerns, saying they were focused on Syrian fighters and preventing a resurgence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group in the area. 

“We are keenly aware of the security concerns of Turkey, our coalition partner and NATO ally. Turkey’s security concerns are legitimate,” the statement said.